.

Well, after the longest apprenticeship in history, I signed off on Friday 7 September after 20 years with the Mail.

It was an accidental career in two parts – the first with the marvellous Mardie Lambert from 1985 to 1994 with Mountain Views, and a return bout from 1998 to 2018 with Mail News Group.

No-one was more surprised than I was when Mardie offered me a job at Mountain Views, or that her new editor, Veronica Groat, went along with it.

As a quite talented stenographer/book-keeper turned not-so-talented kiosk operator, it was an incredibly brave leap of faith on their part.

I might have exaggerated my experience with a camera but, to be fair, the job description of “…two or three days covering community news – babies, school news, events…” wasn’t exactly how it panned out either.

So, I think we’re even.

What a privilege it’s been to share so many people’s stories and their lives in so many different ways.

I will be forever grateful for the trust that people have put in me to tell those stories.

Some of it has been heart-breaking, a lot of it has been inspiring, bits of it have been just plain bizarre and some of it, I hope, has made a difference.

In fact, I know it has made a difference, and that is rewarding.

I’ve worked with some of the best people, and in a tough, fast-changing industry, some of the most dedicated and resilient – and funny (in lots of ways).

And, I’ve been especially blessed to work with a generation (maybe two) of young journalists who have had to work so hard in a fiercely-competitive space to chase the career they aspired to.

There have been times when I’ve pinched myself at my good fortune at working in such a beautiful environment as the Yarra Valley and among such genuinely beautiful people.

I will miss so many aspects of my accidental job…but not the deadlines, and, not emails that don’t have contact phone numbers on them! Just saying!

Thank you for all the beautiful messages, and hugs I’ve received over the past week.

– Kath Gannaway

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